Orange County, CA
CruiseClout score: 20.0
Norwegian Breakaway: Escape to the tropics on New York's ship
They call Norwegian Breakaway New York's cruise ship, and it's clear why once you arrive at the port and see the Statue of Liberty painted on the hull. The original work of art is by Peter Max, and the renowned artist did a great job setting the tone for the Big Apple's year-round cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Line.
During the winter, Breakaway is a great way to escape the frigid climes for some tropical R&R. But even during the spring, summer (when I went) and fall, the ship offers a wealth of entertainment options arrayed across three decks, with bars, nightlife and shopping venues that let you play all day and all night long.
Who will like sailing on Norwegian Breakaway
Value-conscious cruisers will enjoy sailing on Breakaway, which is typical of other cruise ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. This is a large resort-style cruise experience with good lead-in fares. If you're looking for more luxury and have the extra cash to spend, try booking a suite.
Where Norwegian Breakaway sails
The Norwegian Breakaway's home port is New York, and the ship sails in and around the Caribbean year-round. Embarking from New York, you can sail to San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, Castries in St. Lucia, Bridgetown, Barbados and Basseterre, St. Kitts.
Here's a 3½-minute overview of activities and highlights aboard Norwegian Breakaway from our friend Jason Leppert of PopularCruising.com.
Norwegian Cruise Line's popular freestyle dining concept — eat where you want with whomever you want — has been expanded on Breakaway. There are complimentary dining options available, which cover three main restaurants, buffet and room service, and close to 20 optional eateries that have a cover charge.
One of the things that I don't like on Norwegian ships is the food frenzy caused by not having a reservation at one of the restaurants. While dining in the main dining venues is surprisingly good as far as mega-ships go, it's hard not to feel left out when you're not eating at one of the smaller outlets like Teppanyaki, Wasabi Sushi Bar or the Noodle Bar. Figuring out the dining situation on Breakaway is a bit of a chore, especially because first-time cruise passengers might be overwhelmed with what is included in the price and what is not.
My two favorite alternative restaurants on Breakaway are Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian ($39 per person) and Cagney's Steakhouse ($30 per person).
A little more information about each restaurant can be found below.
- Savor: Savor, a Main Dining Room option is stunning in design, with colors like the setting sun over a deep blue sea. The cuisine is traditional with a contemporary flair. You'll find Savor aft on Deck 6, on the opposite side of another Main Dining Room, Taste.
- Taste: Destined to become a guest favorite, Taste is a Main Dining Room serving a variety of culinary delights to please every palate. With a menu that changes daily, you can enjoy a different culinary adventure with each visit to Taste.
- The Manhattan Room: One of three Main Dining Rooms aboard Norwegian Breakaway, The Manhattan Room is designed like a private New York City supper club. This is a guest favorite with its expansive dance floor and panoramic ocean views from two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows.
- O'Sheehan's Neighborhood Bar & Grill: Located on Deck 7, in the heart of the action at 678 Ocean Place, this is the place to hang out, 24/7. Serving up Irish/American classics in a relaxed, pub atmosphere, O'Sheehan's also has billiards, darts, arcade games, TVss and a giant two-story screen for sports and movies.
Additional cost dining
- Cagney's Steakhouse: Succulent grilled steaks along with perfectly cooked double cut lamb chops will make your mouth water at this signature steakhouse. With an opening to view The Manhattan Room below, you can dine in style amidst the warm wood tones and comfortable leather.
- La Cucina Italian Restaurant: The menu at La Cucina's is casual, family-style Italian and the ambiance, including the courtyard, is Tuscan-esque complete with lanterns, timbers and stonework. Be sure to try the pizza.
- Moderno Churasscaria: This Brazilian-style steakhouse has indoor and outdoor dining and offers different grilled and slow-roasted meats carved tableside. Use your Moderno green and red placecards to control the carving.
- Le Bistro French Restaurant: If you've always dreamed of dining at a sidewalk cafe in France, Le Bistro can satisfy your craving.
- Ocean Blue: Step inside the brand new Ocean Blue or experience its outdoor counterpart, Ocean Blue on the Waterfront. Tastefully nautical and temptingly delicious, it's a new dining experience not to be missed.
- Raw Bar: If you're a fan of seafood, you will become a regular at the raw bar. Choose from a variety of offerings, served with traditional accompaniments.
- Shanghai's Noodle Bar: When you crave a taste of the Orient, think Shanghai's Noodle Bar. You'll find it on Deck 7, next to The Manhattan Room. Sit at the counter and let skilled chefs prepare authentic dim sum and fried rice as you watch.
- Teppanyaki: Dinner and a show, complete with flying shrimp and the unmistakable ting-ting-tinging sound of chef knives, can only be found at Teppanyaki.
- Wasabi Sushi Bar: A traditional sushi bar complete with a Yakitori grill, Wasabi serves up a nice selection of popular sushi, sashimi and rolled favorites.
Like the dining situation on Breakaway, figuring out the entertainment options on Breakaway is also a challenge for cruise newbies. My tip is to try to reserve your tickets in advance. Pre-booking entertainment is available from the cruise line starting 90 days before departure. The live Broadway shows of Rock of Ages, Cirque Dreams & Dinner – Jungle Fantasy and Burn the Floor Two are worth watching — the casts are terrific. Find out more details at NCL.com.
Bars & lounges
- Bliss Ultra Lounge: Cruise into the clubbing scene at Bliss. Dance to a different beat and feel the excitement as you walk through the lit tunnel to the illuminated bar. It's electric.
- Bar 21: The sounds of the slot machines and cheers of the crowd at the neighboring casino won't distract you from noticing this stunning, intimate bar. It could easily become your favorite haunt, especially late at night.
- Cafe & Bar at the Atrium: Relax in the center of the hustle and bustle of the Atrium. Linger with cocktails or coffee in this grand space that offers three-deck vertical views and a two-story Wii wall.
- Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar: Sit starboard, right alongside the sea where the view is intoxicating. Good times flow indoors, too. With a unique international variety of spirits and an impressive list of imported and domestic beers, you can sip your way around the world without leaving your chair.
- Mixx Bar: Mingle with new friends and enjoy live piano at Mixx, a modern classical, pre-dinner gathering place.
- Prime Meridian Bar: Between Cagney's Steakhouse and Moderno Churrascaria, take a seat, order your favorite beverage and be a part of the action of 678 Ocean Place.
- Shaker's Cocktail Bar: Happy hour comes shaken or stirred at this classic martini bar with a twist. Join the martini crowd for some cosmopolitan ambience or try the latest, modern concoction made to your liking.
Take a walk on the Waterfront
One thing I loved about Breakaway was the Waterfront. Norwegian Cruise Line has innovated the way they use the promenade deck and now offers a new way for you to enjoy restaurants, bars and shops along a quarter-mile stretch of deck 8.
Be prepared for an active vacation
The Aqua Park and Sports Complex is vast and sprawling, taking up space on four decks. There are five waterslides to try, but it's the swimming pools that I like best as well as the Spongebob Squarepants-themed pool area that is perfect for my kids.
For those who want more adventure, check out the rock-climbing wall, bungee trampoline, Spider Web climbing cage or the ropes course that is home to The Plank, a popular 8-foot-long plank that hangs off the side of the ship and over the water. Fear not, you wear a safety strap, and Breakaway hasn't lost a guest yet.
Staterooms for the way you cruise
When Norwegian designed Breakaway, they considered every possible buyer: from the Single Studio Cabins, to spacious 2-bedroom Family Suites to The Haven for the ultimate luxury experience, there is a cabin (and price) to suit just about any preference.
In general, cabin interiors are designed in toned-down neutral palettes that are a welcome change to the art, carpets, lounges, lights and sounds found outside the cabin. I liked that keycards are required to turn on electricity in the cabin, resulting in energy savings.
Norwegian seems to pay close attention to what cruise passengers like, and they've taken some of the most popular concepts from their other ships and incorporated them into Breakaway. I liked all of the new venues, as well as the expanded sports court. This ship had everything my family and I were looking for and it's a great ship for first-time cruisers.
Interested in a cruise on this ship?
Interested in a cruise on this ship? Contact a Cruiseable travel advocate at 1-877-322-3773, or by email, to get additional information and to find the best rates and value for your vacation dollar.
How about you? Have you sailed on the Norwegian Breakaway? I'd love to hear about your experience.
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Top highlights on this ship
- The Aqua Park with two pools and four whirlpools
- Adventure seekers will enjoy the five waterslides
- Adults-only areas for those seeking peace and quiet
- Famed New York City celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian brings his restaurant to sea
- Ship-within-a-ship for luxury cruisers can be found at The Haven by Norwegian